Six in, Seven to go for leg 2 of McIntyre OGR

Triple Whitbread entrant and 1985/86 winner, L’Esprit d’équipe, crossed the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron at 17:40:03hrs (NZDT), December 16th.

Skippered by Lionel Regnier from Les Sables-d’Olonne, the painstakingly restored yacht looked appropriately impressive against the cloudy grey Auckland skies and spectacular city skyline. She formerly raced in the Whitbread as 33 Export and Esprit de Liberté.

They placed 5th in line honours and provisional 8th in IRC having battled with Triana FR (66) in the previous days, but managed to snatch the lead around at Cape Reigna, the northernmost tip of New Zealand.

In the 1981–82 Whitbread (named 33 Export) she lost her mast in the Southern Ocean and did not finish, but returned in 1985 going on to win the race. She entered again in 1989, skippered by Patrick Tabarly, uncle of Pen Duick VI’s skipper Marie Tabarly –  L’Esprit d’équipe is certainly no stranger to Auckland waters. In more recent years she passed her days cruising in Antarctica and Patagonia before Lionel purchased her, then sailing back to Les Sables d’Olonne in France for a complete overhaul.

L’Esprit d’équipe sat 6th in line honors after leg 1, Southampton to Cape Town, and 9th in IRC – so their Leg 2 results will certainly see them move up the rankings.

Having stuck with the middle of the pack throughout much of Leg 2, eyebrows were raised when it appeared they missed the third waypoint by approximately 3 nautical miles. It appeared on the tracker they sailed just south of the mandatory waypoint which should be kept to port. A full investigation will be carried out in Auckland upon arrival where charts and log books will be examined. A time penalty will be applied after considering the facts.

Lionel Regnier, skipper of L’Esprit d’équipe was very happy with how the leg played out.

“It was a good leg. The seas weren’t too big and the crew all worked well together. The racing was just perfect. The hardest bit was the last front in the Tasman Sea, this sea was not very easy and it was the only time we didn’t like it.” LIONEL REGNIER, SKIPPER OF L’ESPRIT D’ÉQUIPE

Titouan Cavan, crew of Triana was delighted how the leg progressed, despite having to do an emergency fix on the wheel midrace. But it certainly didn’t faze the crew.

“It was a great race full of stories and last week was crazy with Triana. They were in front of us and then we were in front of them back and forth. In the end, it was really exciting, a great, great race. The Southern Ocean was not as tough as I thought it was going to be or as people said. I don’t know if this is because we were trained for it or because it just was calm. It was easier than we thought, but it was cold. Very cold.” TITOUAN CAVAN, CREW OF TRIANA

Triana FR (66) a 53-foot Swan skippered by Jean d’Arthuys crossed the line at 03:28:54 taking provisional second in IRC. They have continually impressed with their ability to keep up with yachts far bigger and stronger throughout the race. They were currently 4th in IRC ranking after Leg 1 so they’ve been bumped up the leaderboard thanks to their success in Leg 2. They continue to hold first in Adventure Class.

Their first mate Sébastien Audigane is well known in the professional French sailing community, with many ocean miles, six passages of Cape Horn and two Jules Verne round-the-world records under his belt. His extensive experience has clearly played a massive role in the team’s success.

The Swan 53 hit the headlines in Leg 1 when a crew member Stéphane Raguenes was successfully rescued after a dramatic long-range helicopter mission. The alarm was raised early on the morning of 18th September when the sailor’s condition deteriorated overnight from a leg injury sustained the day before. After a successful rescue coordination, a helicopter with Stéphane onboard landed safely at Funchal Airport on the island of Madeira. The yacht continued racing to Cape Town.

“For us, this is a dream. We’re really very emotional to be here. The boat is very good, in fact,  Leg One was like training. All the trouble we had on Leg One is gone and the crew is doing really well. And even if we are sailing a small boat, it’s a really good design. I think it was a good choice of boat. The secret to our success? ‘Always On!’. That’s the secret. All the crews are working hard 24 hours a day. And we know, after 40 days that makes all the difference. Each day, a few minutes more, and in the end it will make a good performance.” JEAN D’ARTHUYS , SKIPPER OF TRIANA.

At the time of writing Neptune FR (56) the 60ft French Aluminum Sloop skippered by Tanneguy Raffray is making her way down the East coast of the North Island making 6.1 knots with 117 nm to finish, with an ETA of 21:00 NZDT.

“The wind returned as night fell. Today we enjoyed some beautiful sunshine and a magnificent view of the New Zealand coast.” Tweeted Neptune

Evrika FR (07) have just rounded Cape Reinga sailing at 5.9 knots and are expected to arrive Saturday afternoon.

Galiana WithSecure FI (06) and Outlaw AU (08) continue their almighty battle as they round Cape Regina. At the time of writing, Outlaw is leading Galiana WithSecure by just 5nm.

“Outlaw on the horizon ahead of us. Do we see them throwing toolboxes over the side?” Tweeted Galiana WithSecure

White Shadow ESP (17) have got themselves caught in a wind hole and have slowed to 1.1 nm but are still upbeat as always.

“A few hundred miles separate us from the arrival. Nothing compared to the over 7k miles already travelled. Mixed feelings.” Tweeted White Shadow.

Explorer AU (28) who’d boasted earlier in the week about warm weather seems to have a change of heart.

“Normal Southern Ocean service resumed. Definitely no bikinis on the upper deck today.” tweeted Explorer

Sterna SA (42) are delighted to have put their wows behind them and are back on track.

“Finally some good sailing! 35knts of downwind bliss. Steering fix holding up well. Not anticipating any further issues (touch wood).” Tweeted Sterna.

The OGR race office is located in The Kiosk, Jellicoe Harbour at Wynyard Quarter, Wynyard Marina where official programs and some official OGR merchandise and posters are available.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread, the OGR is hosting a Whitbread Reunion on January 11th, 6pm – 8pm, in Auckland. All Whitbread and Volvo Race veterans are invited but need to register with OGR first for details.

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